Tips I’ve learned to make coparenting easier on everyone during the holiday season.
Ho Ho Ho. Merry. Happy. Jolly. Or if you’re a newly single parent, the phrase you might be looking for is Bah Humbug.
Whether you’re a newly single parent or have been doing this whole co-parenting gig for a while, the holidays are not easy on single parents. The nonstop barrage of holiday tunes and festive decorations can test the hardiest of people.
When I’d first gotten separated, I found myself sobbing in the bra and panties section of my local Target. And let me tell you, nothing clears out a 2 for 1 thong sale like a woman dripping snot on new lacy undies.
There are better ways to do this people….
So here’s my list of ways to be a single parent and still stay sane during the holidays. And maybe even in spite of yourself actually ENJOY the holiday season this year. I’ve been doing this a while now and here are some of the tips that I’ve picked up along the way.
1. The first holiday alone is the toughest.
I swear on Rudolph’s Red Nose, it Gets Easier.
The first holiday alone is definitely the toughest. I wanted to climb under the Christmas tree and not come out till January 2nd. But each holiday season that I’m single parenting has gotten easier. I’ve even learned to Christmas shop for my daughter alone and not have anyone to ask their opinion.
2. Know Your Limit.
I used to be an all out Christmas kinda girl. I listened to the all Christmas music station in the car, humming Jingle Bells, wearing a stupid necklace with a huge red bell.
After my divorce, I had to step back and give myself a break. I realized that I could handle holiday joy-but in moderation.
The holiday tunes in the car had to go.
I learned to shop for my daughters online instead of braving a store full of jolly sales associates. (Yes, shopping for Christmas while sitting on the couch with a big glass of wine made the shopping much easier. Amazon Prime loves me all kinda ways now.)
3. Work out CoScheduling Times Beforehand.
My xx and I try to work out the exact Christmas schedule months in advance so that we all know the day and time that we’ll switch on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It helps my daughter know her schedule in advance and lets us plan things like meals, and church schedules in advance.
4. Don’t speak to your Ex while under the influence of eggnog.
Or Merlot. Or Chocolate Martinis. Or A Bud Light 40 Ouncer.
This rule applies all year long but even more so when holiday hangovers comes around.
Hold those opinions of your ex and his family until the hangover wears off.
5. Keep Your Grinch-ness To Yourself.
You might not feel that festive but try to keep your disdain for the holidays all to yourself. (Yeah, I’m not always so good at this Grinchiness to myself. In fact, here’s a post about why Christmas over 40 can suck big reindeer balls.)
This is sooo hard. But if you aren’t really in the Christmas mood try to keep that holiday hatred a wee bit hidden. It only makes you seem more bitter and angry and less likely to score an invite to the neighbor’s holiday open house.
(And definitely don’t share your Grinch-iness with your children. My daughter LOVES Christmas just like any other kid. I have to admit, the season is different for me now, but as far as she knows, I LOVE me some Christmas too.)
6. When All Else Fails, Just Do It. For Your Kids
This year, the day after Thanksgiving my daughter and I started decorating for Christmas. We went to Michael’s and loaded up on white lights and pinecones to paint. Then went to the Christmas tree lot and got wreaths for the front door, one for inside the house, grabbed garland and started the decorating craziness.
I realized that the best way to get into the holiday spirit is to get into it. My favorite Nike phrase “Just Do It”, definitely works for the Christmas Spirit too.
I wasn’t feeling particularly ready for the holidays but jumping in and decorating our hearts out did get me into the mood for this time of year.
We even invited another single mom and daughter pair over to admire our Christmas handiwork and have a Christmas movie night. We watched ELF and gorged on popcorn and cupcakes. Who doesn’t feel more festive after watching Buddy the Elf?
7. Help Someone Else Who Might Not Be Feeling Great This Time of Year.
If you aren’t feeling merry or bright. Reach out. Call somebody and get together for coffee or a drink. The holidays are tough for so many people, open up and share your honest feelings with others who might be feeling the same way. Lots of people struggle this time of year.
Sometimes the best way to feel better yourself is to help someone else. That’s a wonderful truth that’s even more important this time of year. I bet there are other single parents you can help just by asking how they are doing. Surviving the holidays as a single parent can be done. It just takes some new ways of viewing the holidays and knowing when you’ve had enough.
If you’re on Facebook, please stop by the RoundandRoundRosie page and say hello! And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share with a friend who might be navigating the holidays as a single parent.
How are you surviving the holidays as a single parent? What tips have you learned?